S&C Electric Europe, Samsung SDI and Younicos have signed a joint agreement to deploy Europe’s largest intelligent network storage project, onto a UK Power Networks substation, saving over £6m on traditional network reinforcement methods. By providing frequency regulation as well as load shifting, the project will also stabilise the grid much more effectively than traditional thermal generators, providing more space on the grid for clean, but intermittent renewable energies.

The fully automated 6MW/10MWh Smarter Network Storage (SNS) battery technology project will be installed at Leighton Buzzard primary substation, in order to assess the role of energy storage in cost effectively delivering the UK’s Carbon Plan. The technology can provide a range of benefits to the wider electricity system, including absorbing energy, then releasing it to meet demand, to help support capacity constraints and to balance the influx of intermittent and inflexible low carbon technologies onto the grid.

The Smarter Network Storage (SNS) project aims to carry out a range of technical and commercial innovation to facilitate the more efficient and economic adoption of storage. By contrast to other electrical storage projects, it will demonstrate storage across multiple parts of the electricity system, outside the boundaries of the distribution network. By demonstrating this multi-purpose application of 6MW/10MWh of energy storage at Leighton Buzzard primary substation, the project will explore the capabilities and value in alternative revenue streams for storage, whilst also deferring expensive conventional reinforcement measures, such as transformers, cable and overhead lines.

The project was awarded funding of £13.2 million by Ofgem, under The Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund scheme in December 2012 and will last four years, from January 2013 to December 2016.

The project will generate new knowledge and learning on the challenges of integrating large-scale storage, and provide the industry with a greater understanding and a detailed assessment of the business case and full economics of energy storage.

S&C Electric Europe is the lead supplier to the project, being led by UK Power Networks, drawing on many years of energy storage experience from outside the UK. Andrew Jones, Managing Director, S&C Electric Europe, said:
“The major grid challenges from the UK’s decarbonisation can be met through energy storage’s inherent ability to reinforce the network. But currently there are limited large-scale energy storage projects here, leaving a confidence gap. This practical demonstration promises to show the strengths and limitations of storage and unlock its potential as a key technology for the transition to low carbon energy.”